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The Vaccine Debate: It Can't Go In One Ear and Out the Other

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My concern is not the general efficacy of vaccines, I know vaccines work. What I worry about parents' lack of information about what's possible for them and their family. For example, California's Governor Brown recently signed a law requiring all children who attend public school get mandatory vaccinations. This came on the heels of a recent measles outbreak in California.

RELATED: I Don't Vaccinate My Kids

I wonder how many people actually read the Statute - which you can read right here. Scroll down to Section 5 and you'll see if your doctor has a medical reason then your child will be exempt. It's so important to educate ourselves and it's really not hard to do so. A simple Internet search takes you to the Statute so you can read it for yourself - without any filter from the media

My son was born with Down syndrome in 2007, and I have declined most of the vaccinations offered to him until I felt he was old enough to receive them. He still has not received the MMR. My doctor has supported my choice to not vaccinate him because of he is allergic to the ingredients in the vaccine and at risk of having adverse reactions. After I learned of his allergies and negative reactions to the ingredients of many vaccinations, I have simply said no to a number of (but not all) immunizations.

This has not been easy, as doctors have tried to shame me into going against my better judgment. Several months ago when the measles swept through California, I was nervous. I even went as far as to schedule an appointment with the allergist to assist us with administering the MMR and the nurse to have him vaccinated. In order for my son to get the MMR vaccination, he must first be given the ingredients which will cause a reaction. When the reaction occurs he will then be administered medication to neutralize the reaction and then he can receive the MMR. The same is also true for flu vaccinations. The morning of the appointment, a staff member called requesting that I reschedule. I took that call as sign, if you will, and I haven't called back.

RELATED: 10 Irrefutable Pro-Vax Arguments

Personally I am not against vaccinations. But I also know parents have seen their kids get severe reactions to the onslaught of foreign antibodies and chemicals. So I am pro individualized vaccination schedules. When you look at the schedule California and other states set out there is a certain amount of wiggle room for setting up your own schedule of shots. You can read the California schedule here.

It takes work to find a doctor to help you on this journey and it takes work to figure out how to do it within the law. But that work is well worth it. Isn't that what we as parents do? We work to be the best parents we can.

Having a child who is sensitive to ingredients, I understand the risk involved for vulnerable children whose immune systems may be weaker or compromised. I also understand the importance of immunizing so that the kids who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons are protected. Had my son not had allergy tests run very early, I would have exposed him to potentially harmful ingredients. As a parent who understands personally how drugs can also have a negative impact, I feel we need to keep talking about this issue as long as babies are being born and science is developing new methods to fight diseases.

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